David Steven Goldstein
Study of special topics in interdisciplinary arts and sciences. Prerequisite: BIS 300.
SPRING 2009 (Prof. David S. Goldstein): Toni Morrison's masterpiece novel, Beloved, helped her win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Taking an American studies approach to the novel, we will analyze its prodigious aesthetic accomplishments as well as study it in its historical and cultural context. To provide that context, we will explore and analyze primary and secondary documents, discovering the ways in which those texts can deepen our understanding of the novel. Assembling those documents and our own analyses of them and their connections to the novel, we will produce a scholarly web page for teachers and students of the novel. This senior seminar is thereby an opportunity to contribute to an academic resource--a valuable experience for graduating seniors applying for jobs or graduate school programs.
Be ready to read a lot, discuss a lot, write a lot, and learn a lot. Building on the thinking of others before us, we will individually and collectively produce our own knowledge about Toni Morrison, Beloved, and the historical and cultural worlds from which Beloved draws and upon which it comments.
Student learning goals
Ability to identify and articulate interesting questions and problems regarding the literary work of Toni Morrison
Ability to analyze, with insight and complexity, disparate kinds of data pertaining to the historical and literary contexts of Toni Morrison's Beloved
Ability to reflect deeply on one's own work in this course and in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences program in its entirety
Ability to work collaboratively and independently on a scholarly research project
General method of instruction
As a seminar, this course will rely heavily on well-prepared students exchanging ideas in small-group and full-class discussions.
Coursework in history, literature, or both would be helpful preparation for this course. Experience with academic research techniques, such as are taught in BIS 300 and in most concentration core courses, is strongly recommended.
Class assignments and grading
This course requires a substantial amount of reading, research, and writing, including careful revision of written work.
Grades will probably be based on substantial written contributions to the class research project, class contribution, and a learning portfolio.